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Chaga Mushroom

the superior immunity defender

Chaga | Biohacking your body
19 October 2023 | James Kearslake
Table of Contents
An image of chaga mushroom on a pastel blue background_the benefits of chaga

What is chaga mushroom?

Chaga mushroom, often referred to as the King of Medicinal Mushrooms, is taken for its many benefits to our physical health and immune system. It’s purported that chaga can boost immunity defence, lessen chronic inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, and possibly attack cancerous cells.

Chaga has been used for centuries in traditional medicine across Eastern Europe, Russia, as far as Siberia.

Rich in beta-glucans, polysaccharides known for their immune-boosting properties, the compounds can help strengthen the immune system and enhance the body’s ability to fend off infections.

Also packed with antioxidants, including melanin, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and triterpenoids, the compounds combat oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and protect cells from damage.

Chaga is also an adaptogen, helping the body adapt to stress and maintain balance. This adaptogenic nature may contribute to increased energy levels and reduced fatigue.

Some studies have shown that chaga may also inhibit the growth of cancer cells due to its high concentration of antioxidants and betulinic acid.

Other benefits include digestive health, skin health, and enhanced cognitive function, as well as enhanced energy levels and endurance.

I started taking chaga in September and already feel a marked improvement to my energy levels. I feel physically fitter since taking it and have noticed an improvement in my endurance capability while running.

The benefits of chaga mushroom

Benefits of chaga mushroom can include:

  1. Boost immunity defence – the bioactive compounds in chaga mushroom can boost and modulate the body’s immune system and immune response.
  2. Lessen inflammation – the triterpenoids found within chaga mushroom can reduce inflammation in the body, including for those experiencing chronic inflammation.
  3. Attack free radicals – is it also high in antioxidants which attack free radicals in the system. Free radicals are unstable molecules in the body, which when left to accumulate can cause extensive damage to other cells within the body. It is this sustained and ongoing damage that can expedite aging, cause age related disease, and cause cancer.
  4. Possibly attack cancerous cells – the antioxidant properties found within chaga may be beneficial in attacking cancerous cells. Studies need to be completed on humans first before this can be concluded.
  5. Low blood sugar levels – chaga’s antioxidant compounds, anti-inflammatory properties, and adaptogenic properties, can have a combined effect on lowering and regulating blood sugar levels, as well as improving insulin response within the body.
  6. Digestive health – chaga mushroom can support a healthy digestive system, aiding in gastrointestinal function and providing relief from digestive disorders.
  7. Enhanced cognitive function – chaga may enhance cognitive function by reducing inflammation in the brain, which can lead to improved memory and mental clarity.
  8. Energy and endurance – some users report increased energy levels and improved physical endurance when taking Chaga supplements.
  9. Skin health – the antioxidants in chaga help improve skin elasticity and reduce signs of aging. It’s also used topically in skincare products for its beneficial effects.

The bioactive ingredients of chaga mushroom

1. Polysaccharides

Chaga contains beta-glucans and other polysaccharides which stimulate immune response and maintain a stable immune system. ng neuron excitability or overstimulation

2. Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)

Superoxide dismutase is an enzyme that plays a crucial role in the body’s antioxidant defence against free radicals. It converts superoxide radicals, highly reactive molecules, into less harmful forms, reducing oxidative stress.

By controlling superoxide radicals, SOD helps prevent and mitigate inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Because SOD also operates in the brain, it can potentially mitigate oxidative damage and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

3. Triterpenoids

Triterpenoids are also an antioxidant and have strong anti-inflammatory properties. They can inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory molecules, thereby reducing inflammation throughout the body. Triterpenoids are known to benefit people with chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

Triterpenoids can also contribute to the overall antioxidant capacity of the body, helping to combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of cellular damage caused by free radicals.

Some triterpenoids have shown promise in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and promoting apoptosis (cell death) in these cells, making them potential candidates for cancer treatment and prevention. Currently there is no research on humans whether chaga mushroom can attack cancer cells so the benefits may be speculative.

Triterpenoids can help modulate the immune system and help balance immune responses. This can be beneficial for individuals with autoimmune disorders.

4. Melanin

Melanin is a pigment found in the skin, eyes, and hair which protects against ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from the sun. It absorbs and dissipates UV radiation from the sun, thereby protecting and reducing the risk of DNA damage and mutations that can lead to skin cancer and other UV-related conditions.

Melanin is also a key compound for maintain healthy skin, by neutralizing free radicals generated by UV exposure. This helps prevent premature aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots, which are often caused by oxidative stress.

In the brain, melanin serves as a neuroprotective agent by scavenging free radicals and reducing oxidative stress, which can contribute to neurodegenerative conditions.

Melanin, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and triterpenoids are all important components of the body’s antioxidant defense system. They work together to protect cells and tissues from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. Their roles extend to skin protection, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory effects, and potential contributions to neuroprotection and cancer prevention.

Explaining chaga mushroom as an adaptogen

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are a category of herbs and natural substances that help the body adapt to stress and maintain physiological balance. They are known for their ability to modulate the body’s stress response, supporting both the adrenal and immune systems. Chaga mushroom contains several compounds that contribute to its adaptogenic properties.

Benefits of chaga mushroom's adaptogenic properties

  1. Stress reduction – chaga helps the body cope with stress by regulating the production of stress hormones like cortisol. This can lead to reduced feelings of anxiety and improved resilience to everyday stressors.
  2. Enhanced energy and vitality – chaga’s adaptogenic nature can increase overall energy levels. By helping the body maintain a state of equilibrium, it prevents excessive fatigue and supports better physical and mental performance.
  3. Immune system support – adaptogens like chaga can enhance the immune response. Chaga’s beta-glucans, for instance, stimulate the production of immune cells, making the body more resistant to infections and illnesses.
  4. Improved cognitive function – chaga’s adaptogenic properties may help improve cognitive function. By reducing stress-related inflammation in the brain, it can contribute to better memory, concentration, and mental clarity.
  5. Hormonal balance – adaptogens like chaga may help regulate hormones, including sex hormones and thyroid hormones. This can benefit individuals with hormonal imbalances and conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  6. Enhanced physical performance – athletes and physically active individuals may benefit from Chaga’s adaptogenic properties. It can reduce exercise-induced stress and improve endurance and recovery.

How chaga mushroom's adaptogens work

Chaga contains compounds such as triterpenoids and beta-glucans that play a role in its adaptogenic effects:

  1. Triterpenoids – these compounds have anti-stress and anti-inflammatory properties. They help modulate the body’s stress response by regulating the release of stress hormones, promoting a more balanced state.
  2. Beta-glucans – these complex carbohydrates enhance the immune system’s ability to respond to challenges, making the body better equipped to handle physical and psychological stressors.

Incorporating Chaga mushroom into your diet or taking it as a supplement may help your body adapt to various stressors, leading to improved well-being, reduced stress, enhanced energy levels, and better overall health. However, it’s important to use Chaga responsibly and consult a healthcare professional, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Chaga mushroom for skincare

Chaga has been used in skincare for man years and grown in popularity in the last decade. Chaga can improve skin through a number of ways:

  1. Anti-aging properties – chaga is loaded with antioxidants, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), which help combat oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a major contributor to skin aging, causing the breakdown of collagen and elastin, leading to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.
  2. Collagen protection – chaga’s antioxidants can help protect collagen, a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. By preserving collagen, Chaga contributes to firmer, more youthful-looking skin.
  3. Skin hydration – its beta-glucans can help the skin retain moisture. This hydration can lead to a smoother complexion and reduced dryness or flakiness.
  4. Reduced inflammation – the triterpenoids in chaga have anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated or inflamed skin. Inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis, may benefit from Chaga’s calming effects.
  5. Skin protection – while chaga doesn’t replace sunscreen, its melanin content, which absorbs UV radiation, can provide some degree of natural UV protection. This may reduce the risk of UV-induced skin damage and skin cancer.
  6. Enhanced wound healing – its beta-glucans have also been shown to support the body’s natural wound healing processes. This may lead to faster recovery from minor skin injuries and reduce the risk of scarring.
  7. Skin brightening – users often report chaga helps fade dark spots, sunspots, and hyperpigmentation, resulting in a more even skin tone. It is thought that this is a result of its antioxidant properties.

How to use chaga mushroom for skincare

People use chaga in various ways for their skin, including as topical applications for the skin, and consuming supplements to support the skin from the inside.

  1. Topical applications – chaga extracts or creams are available for topical use. These can be applied directly to the skin to address specific skin concerns.
  2. Oral supplements – ingesting chaga supplements or drinking chaga tea may offer internal benefits that reflect positively on the skin. Antioxidants work from within to promote overall skin health.
  3. Skincare products – some skincare companies incorporate chaga extracts into their products, including serums, moisturisers, and masks, to harness its skin-loving properties.

It’s important to note that individual responses to chaga may vary, and it’s advisable to perform a patch test when using chaga-infused skincare products, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you have specific skin concerns or conditions, it’s a good idea to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional before incorporating chaga into your skincare routine.

How to consume chaga mushroom as a supplement

  1. Dietary supplementschaga supplements are widely available and can be taken in various forms, including capsules, powders, or extracts. Consuming chaga regularly may support cognitive function and mental clarity.
  2. Chaga tea – chaga tea is a popular way to incorporate this mushroom into your routine. It can be brewed like regular tea and enjoyed for its potential cognitive benefits.
  3. Tinctureschaga tinctures are concentrated liquid extracts that can be added to beverages or taken directly. They provide a convenient way to consume Chaga.

It’s important to note that individual responses to Chaga can vary, if you have specific  conditions or concerns, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before consuming the product.

Potential risks and side effects of chaga as a supplement

While chaga mushroom is generally safe when used responsibly, there are some considerations:

  1. Allergies – some individuals may be allergic to Chaga or other fungi. It’s important to start with a small dose to assess tolerance.
  2. Drug interactions – chaga may interact with blood-thinning medications, so consult with a healthcare professional if you are taking such medications.
  3. Quality control – ensure you purchase Chaga supplements from reputable sources to guarantee their purity and potency.

Where to purchase chaga mushroom in the UK

We have found Horbäach’s chaga supplement works well and isn’t as expensive as other chaga supplements on the market.

While there are more advanced products on the market like DIRTEA, we only recommend purchasing these if you have a higher disposable income. It’s okay to take a mid-range quality product, and take it over the long-term, than take something that overextends you financially.

Don’t be afraid to try various doses of the supplement, and if you want to manage your own dose outside of Horbäach’s tablet range, you can try Sevenhills Organic Chaga Powder or Hatton Hill’s Organic Chaga Powder.

Who is James Kearslake?

Having been biohacking my mind and body long before it became fashionable, I’ve always lived by the benefits of nature’s resources to improve cognitive and physiological performance. Using my years of experience, products, and wellness practices, I’m now helping others elevate their cognitive performance to help build the life they want. I save you the time I’ve spent learning, so you can focus your time on building.

Proudly AI Supported

I proudly use AI to support development of my articles. As a heavily dyslexic person, writing can be a time consuming process with words often jumbled up and sentences the wrong way round. AI has become my crutch; allowing me to share the immense interest in my mind, while making content creation quicker and more accurate. AI is my benefit.

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